To be or not to BBC? BBC Four and CBBC to move online
Livvy Mason-Myhill, Deputy Editor, discusses the BBC’s decision to take BBC Four and CBBC off the air.
The BBC has recently announced that CBBC, BBC Four and Radio Four Extra will be shut down and become online-only services as the focus on streaming services is becoming increasingly popular. This follows a statement by Tim Davie (BBC Director General) who said that “this is our moment to build a digital first BBC. Something genuinely new”. These changes to the BBC were enacted as a response to the freezing of the licence fee at £159 for the next two years decided by the culture secretary Nadine Dorries.
These changes bring multiple negative consequences including cuts to local television and radio services in England and according to the BBC, over the next five years about 1,000 jobs will be lost at the broadcaster after years of cuts and redundancies. Viewers, employees, and politicians are likely to be outraged by the BBC’s unfavourable announcements.
These changes to the BBC were enacted as a response to the freezing of the licence fee
The move to streaming services by the BBC also affects millions of Britons who are older or from lower-income backgrounds. Those who do not have access to the internet or access to home broadband that is required to access streaming services will struggle to remain loyal audience members of the BBC.
Shutting down BBC Four, in particular, will bring backlash from its loyal audiences. This is due to the channel in recent years essentially being an archive-only channel. The newer BBC Three channel which is more youth-focused will remain on our televisions, despite BBC Four beating it in the ratings with its successful vintage architecture programmes and classic Top of the Pops episodes. I am sure many people will greatly miss watching nostalgic episodes of their favourite BBC show from the past.
I grew up watching CBBC and I am saddened that this nostalgic television channel is being moved to streaming services. Tuning into CBBC after coming home from a busy day at primary school was one of the most engaging parts of my day. I would spend hours watching programmes like Blue Peter, Dick and Dom and Tracy Beaker.
Tuning into CBBC after coming home from a busy day at primary school was one of the most engaging parts of my day
These children’s shows on CBBC were extremely beneficial as they entertained children and also taught them things outside of the classroom. I especially remember learning all of the songs from Horrible Histories and getting my friends to test my well-tuned skills of knowing all of the kings and queens of England. This unfortunate move to streaming services means that children will not be able to access CBBC as easily, especially children who come from a low-income background.
This also means that children miss out on an aspect of childhood that I valued greatly as a child. Although this may be considered a step forward within the modern world we are now living in, I am disappointed that children will be robbed of what I considered to be the best children’s television channel. Children’s television will never be the same.
Article from print issue 733